The Muscle Biophysics Group, led by Professor Malcolm Irving FRS, uses biophysical techniques to investigate the mechanism of muscle contraction and its regulation. Much is known about muscle structure at both the cellular and molecular levels. Muscle generates force and shortening by the relative sliding of two sets of filaments, one mainly composed of myosin, and the other of actin and the proteins that mediate calcium regulation: tropomyosin and troponin. The goal of the muscle biophysics group is to develop a molecular structural description of the fundamental mechanisms of contraction and regulation in skeletal and cardiac muscle.
Associated research programmes
Associated staff research interests
Molecular mechanisms in contraction and regulation of striated muscle.
020 7848 6431
020 7848 6435
Our aim is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of muscle contraction and its regulation at the single cell level. Despite increasingly detailed knowledge from work with isolated proteins about the molecular structure of troponin and other myofilament components, the complexity of the regulatory mechanism, and the interaction between proteins in the structurally-constrained myofibril, makes it difficult to extrapolate from these studies of isolated components. We determine molecular structural changes of muscle regulatory proteins in their native in situ complexes on the physiological timescale by a fluorescence polarisation technique (FISS, Fluorescence for In Situ Structure). Our current research activities have an emphasis on investigating the molecular mechanisms of heart muscle activation that underlie physiological and pathological modulation of myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity by β-adrenergic stimulation, cardiotonic drugs, and troponin mutations associated with cardiomyopathy. Understanding of these mechanisms will underpin the future development of new drugs and therapies for the wide range of cardiac diseases in which myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity is altered.
020 7848 6457
020 7848 6435
CONTACTS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Professor Malcolm Irving, Dr Baljinder Mankoo